Housing crisis and unsheltered discussion continues to draw large crowds

Posted at 5:09 PM, Sep 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-21 13:18:52-04

HELENA — On Wednesday, September 20, the fourth discussion in the housing crisis and unsheltered series was held at the Covenant United Methodist Church.

“How are you getting involved, what are you doing to make a difference,” said Lewis and Clark County Commissioner, Andy Hunthausen.

Over 100 people showed up for the fourth discussion in a five-part series.

“From my observation, they’ve been very engaged, very interested in trying to address the problem,” Hunthausen said.

Plymouth Church in partnership with the Lewis and Clark Library, United Way, the Montana Jewish Project, Good Samaritan and the Helena United Methodist Churches have worked together to make this series a reality.

The five-week discussion is centered around the book “Rough Sleepers” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Tracy Kidder.

The book recounts the true story of Dr. Jim O’Connell caring for the unsheltered in Boston.

This week’s topic was “practical considerations and overwhelming needs.” Speakers from the local government commented on low-income housing and the challenges the city and county face.

“Lives are in the balance, so it is really important that we find solutions. You know winter is coming,” said Hunthausen.

Both county commissioner Andy Hunthausen and Mayor Wilmot Collins spoke today on the topic. One of the key points was that it’s critical that the local government is involved along with the community.

“We bring leadership to the table. We bring dollars to the table. We bring staff time to the table. We're able to apply to some grants that others can’t. We help organize in the community and we bring together non-profits that actually do the work on the ground,” Hunthausen said.

The final discussion will be held on September 27 at Plymouth church.

September 27 at Plymouth Church – UCC, 400 S. Oakes (lunch provided)

“What About Drugs, Addictions, Mental Health and Other Life-Threatening Concerns on the Streets”, facilitated by Teresa KelleyBrewer, PureView Health Center, Healthcare for the Homeless, Shandy Day, Nurse Care Manager, with Ryan Lehman, Community Health Worker, St. Peter’s Health